Muddling through the blogosphere

February 11, 2013
by blogwalker

A 60-Minute Introduction to PBL

On Wednesday, I will head over to an elementary site in my district to give a one-hour session on Project-Based Learning (PBL). I am thrilled for the invitation and the opportunity to initiate conversations on how technology can support teachers in taking student learning to new levels.

Within a 60-minute limit, my goal is to make clear that Common Core Standards are “the what” and PBL is “the how,” with technology there to help fuel the scope and impact of authentic learning.

Image from Ginger Lewman, ESSDACK, 2012

Thanks to the outstanding PBL resources available online, I did not have to start from scratch to build my presentation. Between Edutopia’s dynamic PBL resources, with Suzie Boss leading the way; the Buck Institute for Education’s PBL site; and Ginger Lewman’s PBL in the Primary Classroom LiveBinder and her Life Practice blog site – where I found her wonderful “At the Intersection” illustration  – gathering links to share with the teachers was like hitting the jackpot every time I Googled PBL.

My slideshow presentation walks teachers through the definition and some sample best practices, gleaned mainly from Edutopia. My goal for the remainder of the school year is to replace Edutopia best practices with PBL samples from my district.

I’ve included my notes in the slideshow – again crediting Suzie Boss, Ginger Lewman and BIE for much of my narrative.

If you have resources, samples, or activity ideas (appropriate for a 60-minute workshop), I hope you will jump into the conversation and leave a comment.

August 7, 2010
by blogwalker
1 Comment

Voices on the Gulf

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the lightning-speed evolution of some amazing venues for connecting  students in project-based explorations of the BP oil spill. The combination of Suzie Boss’s PBL Camp (via Edutopia) and Paul Allison’s  Voices on the Gulf site (via the Teachers Teaching Teachers community and the  National Writing Project) has me pretty excited about starting the new school year.

From the the PBL Camp wiki and the Twitter and Elluminate sessions, along with the Teachers Teaching Teachers weekly Skypecasts, and few Google searches, I’ve gleaned some great resources to help jump start classroom discussions, research, and projects on the oil spill:


Videos and Images

Animals on the Gulf


In the News

Starting today, I’ll be putting some time and energy  into  the Voices on the Gulf project. I’ve learned never to say “no” to an invitation to work with Paul Allison, Chris Sloan,  and Kevin Hodgson. Over the past five years, I’ve connected teachers in my district and region to a number of innovative, technology-enhanced NWP projects – always with the same result:  students are empowered by opportunities to connect with students in other locations around issues they genuinely care about.

If you are looking for ways to connect with other teachers and classrooms around specific or general topics, issues, and questions surrounding the oil spill, I encourage you to join the Voices on the Gulf community.  I’ll be working mainly with the  Our Voices (K-6) channel for Voices on the Gulf, and I already know it will rock your students’ worlds because I’m teaming with Kevin Hodgson, whose expertise in teaching the new writing continues to inspire – and push (in a good way) – all who work with him.

And if you have additional oil spill resources to add to those I’ve posted, please jump in with a comment!

March 5, 2008
by blogwalker

Technology and Project-based Learning


How do we justify project-based learning (PBL) in a test-driven climate? I’m sitting in a session with Jane Krauss and Sylvia Martinez, who are discussing the reality that you have to make some adjustments to your curriculum in order to fit PBL into your curriculum. Fact: Thinking takes longer than multiple choice. Fact: “PowerPoint does not a project make” (Jane).

So how do you translate authentic assessment to measurable numbers? “You can do it; it just takes a little longer” (Sylvia). But since we tend to teach the way we were taught, how to we change our ways? Idea: have a tech-using, PBL-oriented teacher come demo a lesson using another teacher’s students – with that teacher in the room as an observer – who will no longer be able to say “Oh, my students could never do that.” This model = “embedded professional development.”

How do we provide the evidence (research)? Start blogging your classroom practice. Blogging = self-reflection and … action research.

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